Monday, December 08, 2008

Cautionary note about mixing drugs, supplements

An article from recently gives a needed warning, starting with a question: Is it safe to take ginkgo with ibuprofen? Answer: Probably not.

The reason, wrote Mayo Clinic hypertension specialist Sheldon Sheps, M.D.:

Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others) is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID). NSAIDs can impair blood clotting, typically by blocking the ability of platelets to form clots. Ginkgo — a dietary supplement used to treat memory problems, dementia and various other conditions — may also affect the clotting process. Bleeding may be a particular concern when ginkgo is taken with other medications that can affect bleeding, such as ibuprofen. In fact, at least one fatality has been linked to the use of ginkgo and ibuprofen.

Gingko, of course, is appealing to many stroke survivors at first blush because of it's supposed powers of helping with concentration. But many are on blood thinners far more aggressive than ibuprofen. In fact, we've got a link to a study reported not long ago. But please, talk to your doctor and pharmacist before taking any supplement. This kind of mistake can kill.

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